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I’m Alan Partridge (1997)

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In anticipation of Alpha Papa, I’ve decided to review and, in a sense, revive this hilarious, yet relatively unknown television show originating in 1997 entitled I’m Alan Partridge. Outlandishly funny, subtly sensitive, and featuring a career defining role for Steve Coogan. I’m Alan Partridge might cater to a certain comedic taste. But the intelligent humour occasionally swaps its satire for idiotic laughs that are sure to please any viewer. The first season original aired on BBC in the year 1997. It then took another five years for the second season to be released, also airing on BBC. Each season consists of six episodes with each running just short of thirty minutes. The show depicts the life of Alan Partridge in his late thirties. Partridge, played by Steve Coogan, is recently divorced and hosts a radio show in the early hours of the morning. Deceptively controversial, intentionally sporadic, and bursting with likeable characters. I’m Alan Partridge is sure to make you laugh out loud and cause your body ache.

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Season 1: In the first season, Alan, recently divorced from his wife Carol, has found residence in the Linton Travel Tavern. He has distanced himself from his kids and currently works for a broadcasting company. Alan’s radio show is entitled “Up with the Partridge.” Aside from his radio show, Alan allows appears in low-profile and weakly funded appearances for various corporations and businesses.

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Season 2: Five years after the first season, Alan has left the tavern and moved into his own house. He continues to host his radio show but it has been moved to the third best time slot available. Alan has released an autobiographical book titled “Bouncing Back.” He lives in a caravan outside of his dream home that is unfinished.

Since its inception, I’m Alan Partridge has received critical acclaim, for example, garnering several BAFTA nominations. However, the surprising number of, not just viewers, but followers, is staggering. Coogan has been able to keep Alan Partridge going for an extended amount of time and make it as fresh as ever. With a strong cult following and a full length feature set for release in 2013, Alan Partridge shows no signs of dying anytime soon. I’ll post the teaser trailer for Alpha Papa at the end of the review.

It is extremely difficult to review a show with such a limited number of chapters, but I digress. I guess this review will have to be short and sweet. Here is a bit of history regarding Alan Partridge. Steve Coogan has been the brains and talent for Alan Partridge for over 20 years. Originating from a radio show called, On the Hour, Coogan has been portraying Partridge since 1991. Appearing in various radio shows, television series, and numerous TV and Radio specials, Coogan has certainly made sure Mr. Partridge has been active.

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I’m Alan Partridge is a clever, witty, hilarious show full of potent, satirical jabs at every facet of our society’s growing fascination with celebrity.

I’m Alan Partridge: 9 out of 10.

Here is the trailer for Alpha Papa.

Shameless (2011-)

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Surprisingly still running when series have been cancelled for a lot less, Shameless comes out swinging in its third season. The most derogatory, unpredictable, and raunchy show currently running, Shameless is not for those who are weak or easily take offence. With Shameless, nothing is safe. Every possible topic, whether you think it’s untouchable or not is dissected and displayed with a foul twist. And Although at times Shameless is down right filthy, the concern, passion, and devotion at the core of the series is endearing. Leading Shameless’s cast is William H Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Joan Cusack along with a concrete supporting staff. Full of sex, addiction, immaturity, and moral disregard, Shameless will unhygienically take you places your mind would never go on its most darkest day. I’ll issue a warning as Shameless will pump scum and soot into your veins. However, the drama and unconditional love and support will shoot your heart full of warmth.

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Fiona is a young, uneducated yet intelligent provider and guardian of her 5 siblings, Lip, Ian, Debby, Carl, and Liam. She can always count on her family and occasionally gets help from her friends Veronica, Kevin, and her love interest Steve. Lip and Ian are wrapping up high school, Debby and Carl are still in grade school, and Liam is an infant. Their mother Monica has run off and abandoned them while their father Frank is a drug addict, an alcoholic, and has essentially disowned his kids. Living in a small house in a poor neighbourhood in Chicago. The Gallagher clan steal, con, and take odd jobs just to get by. Each member weaves in and out of their own peculiar and shady story lines each episode. Encountering numerous shifty characters much like themselves. Dealing with increasingly polluted circumstances, financial struggles, personal dilemmas, and growing up, the Gallagher’s always remain loyal to one another.

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Showing the abhorrently dark side of life on a consistent basis. Shameless is a contaminating look at the harsh world beyond the Gallagher’s grimy pane. Borrowing from every aspect of unkempt, unsightly situations and subjects. Shameless pokes fun at life and leaves nothing pure. The strength, loyalty, and love between the Gallagher’s and their friends is unheard of. Being constantly knocked down and then driven into the dirt, they remain banded and help one another not only to get back up, but hit back harder. Watching Shameless you become one with the Gallagher’s, a part of their family. Whatever they achieve, whenever they suffer, you sympathize an unhealthy amount for a fictional TV family. Shameless proves that nothing runs deeper than blood and nothing comes between family.

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Shameless: 10 out of 10.

Sherlock (2010-)

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With the third season set to begin filming on March 18th, 2013 and word breaking recently of the fourth season signed and ready for 2014. Sherlock is safe, its future secured while we are left waiting impatiently for its long anticipated return. There has been no new episodes aired in over a year and none scheduled for release until late 2013 or early 2014, now would be the ideal time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Leaving all embellishment, gadgetry, and exaggeration behind, this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes isn’t your grandfathers Conan Doyle. Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson. The clever scripts merged with Doyle’s ingenious tales which are transposed into modern format have the resourceful duo to undertake the fragile endeavour that is bringing classic literature to the modern masses.

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Season 1:

Episode 1: A Study in Pink. The police hire the help of Mr. Holmes when they fail to find the culprit who forces his victims to commit suicide by taking a poisonous pill.

Episode 2: The Blind Banker. Holmes and Watson are offered a job investigating a break-in at a Bank in the city.

Episode 3: The Great Game. Holmes is offered employment by Mycroft researching the suspicious death of a government employee.

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Season 2:

Episode 1. A Scandal in Belgravia. Mycroft hires John Watson and Sherlock Holmes to recover embarrassing photos of a minor royal which are held on the camera phone of Irene Adler.

Episode 2: The Hounds of Baskerville. Sherlock and Watson are reached by Henry Knight who wants the dynamic duo to investigate the death of his father by a monstrous hound.

Episode 3: The Reichenbach Fall. When Holmes and Watson become celebrities for their work on high profile cases, Moriarty conducts several heists and allows himself to be captured. Upon encountering Holmes, Moriarty reminds Holmes of his intentions and provides one final problem for Watson and Holmes to solve.

Season 3:

To be announced.

Packing staggering amounts of witty banter, emotion, clever one liners, and intelligent plots with heavy twists and huge payoffs into every episode. Sherlock’s hour and a half runtime is more entertaining than most television series in their entirety. Having an eccentric, cultivating cast to absorb the priceless material on which the show is based. Cumberbatch, Freeman, and company perform desirably injected with the essence of Conan Doyle’s incalculable masterpieces. Sherlock is by far one of the most complete and entertaining shows presently running. The humour levels might be an unorthodox addition but the effectiveness of it is pure. In order to create the complete experience, every aspect of reality must be authentic. There is very little rise and fall between episodes, rather, the show gently pulsates. The best episode of the show to date is “A Scandal in Belgravia.” It may not be the most elaborate episode, but the performances, interactions, and overall cohesiveness is far beyond that of any of the other episodes. Its two leads performing their characters inconceivably wicked with the writing and direction to set them up, Sherlock is perfection.

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Sherlock: 10 out of 10.